Role of additional mutations outside the YMDD motif of hepatitis B virus polymerase in L(-)SddC (3TC) resistance

Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 May 15;55(10):1567-72. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(98)00050-1.


L(-)SddC (3TC) has been shown to be the most promising nucleoside analogue used for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Unfortunately, it has been reported that about 12% of HBV-infected patients experience a recurrence of HBV after a period of treatment with 3TC. Point mutations were detected in the HBV polymerase of those viruses from 3TC-resistant patients. A common mutation occurred at methionine in the YMDD motif. In this report, we present mutants that were generated from the HBV genome (adr subtype) by site-directed mutagenesis based on clinical reports from other investigators. With the transient transfection system, it was found that by changing methionine to valine or isoleucine at the YMDD motif, the viral DNA replication would be more than 100-fold less efficient than that of the wild-type virus. Some additional mutations outside the YMDD motif could enhance the replication of the virus containing a YMDD mutation. Various levels of resistance to 3TC were observed in HBV mutants containing point mutations both inside and outside the YMDD motif. These results suggest that the mutations outside the YMDD motif compensate the YMDD mutation to some extent for the viral replication and may also contribute to clinical viral resistance to 3TC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / drug effects*
  • Hepatitis B virus / enzymology
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lamivudine / pharmacology*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA Primers
  • Lamivudine
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase